What do I Know – A Turning 30 Crisis
I turned 30 a few months back.
I’ve for the most part believed that age is just a number, and that you’re only young as you feel, and that the metric by which you value your life should have less to do with the four-digit number on your birth certificate and more to do with how you feel about yourself and all that you are in any given moment. But when I turned 30—or rather, when I turned 29 and the the thought I was soon turning 30 dawned—a twisted ball of something resembling anxiety developed inside me.
The silhouette of this anxiety was clear; the shadow it cast was unmistakably there. It had a shape, it had defined borders, it had a physical presence. The contents of the silhouette, however, weren’t so clear. In fact they moved beyond unclear. They were blurry to the point that they were actively confounding.
They shocked my system in a way that scrambled everything inside it.
It was nothing short of a turning 30 crisis.
And I had—as I suppose many do during landmark events—an epiphany. And that epiphany was that every belief I ever held about myself and the world had tiptoed onto unstable grounds that may, with one pull of the tablecloth, be removed from underneath me without a single second’s notice.
Let’s start off with the fact that I always lived my little life under the impression that age was just a meaningless number that no one should pay attention to. Part of me still believes that. But physiologically, psychologically, emotionally—I mustn’t really truly actually believe it, because I reacted so strongly against it. Something inside me screamed in no unclear terms that
No, age isn’t just a number. Sooner than later you’re going to die. Gone. Kaput. And when you reach this stage of your life, you will be not. Life will be, but you will not be with it.
I’ve always identified as someone who’s quite liberal (in so far that I identify with anything, which isn’t really my style). I’m absolutely for gay rights, women’s rights, trans’ rights, minorities’ rights, equality of opportunity. I think that if a boy wants to wear a dress to school, good for him. That if a girl wants to wear dungarees, play with trucks, eschew Barbie’s playhouse to get a broken clock ticking again, good for her. I probably err on the side of socialist philosophies, and think that we’ve a social duty to care for the less fortunate. But I also enjoy logical consistency. More to that point, I believe that the very theory of logic itself isn’t merely some social construct created by old white men from European countries. I believe it is one that has objective validity. I believe that logic is rooted in reality, and bound by natural laws that are excavatable and observable, that much of the world’s wonder can with a high degree of certainty be distilled into traceable patterns, numbers, formulas.
And so, I take issue with a lot of so-called liberal thought. I can’t quite quite reconcile, for instance, how gender can simultaneously be a social construct and yet a man can be born inside a fundamentally woman’s body. I don’t understand how someone who claims to be a feminist can also believe that a man should always pay on the first date. It boggles my mind that some feminists believe high heels are a sign of female empowerment while others take it as a sign of oppression—and that both of these positions are reconcilable within the umbrella of feminism more broadly. I don’t believe that oppressed minorities cannot be racist by the sheer fact that they are oppressed minorities.
In fact, I don’t even think I even understand what it means to be racist anymore.
For instance, I sure as hell don’t think it’s racist to assert that some cultures are superior to others. And I don’t think believing this makes me racist, for the fact that I would treat an individual based on his own merits, his own frame of mind, and not based on the cultural/racial collective from which she emerges. Cultural relativism does not impress me anymore.
I’ve grown tired of excusing grotesque behaviours in the name of tolerance for the Other.
And so I’m starting to think, given the current landscape of political discourse, that I can’t even call myself a ‘liberal’, because so much of what I hear from what the so-called liberal side of political discourse makes absolutely zero sense to me now.
I’m not sure how you can wish to walk left, proceed to walk right, and then conclude that you’ve ended up in a place that’s more or less the same.
Another example of things I’ve started to question since turning over the big 3 – 0. I once believed that authenticity was in itself a positive trait for a human to possess, a virtue towards which people should strive. I’m now horrified that I believed such a thing.
I once believed that money couldn’t buy happiness. I’m now horrified that I believed such a thing.
I once believed that happiness was something that people should fuel people’s motivation for action. I am now horrified that I believed such a thing.
I once believed that to follow your passion was a good idea. I’m now horrified that I believed such a thing without first qualifying it with a long list of exceptions and caveats.
I think it goes without saying that there are still a lot of things that I believe, and on which I still place much value. But what I’ve found is that I’m less certain of these beliefs, and much more aware of how they can change. I’ve learned that if you do value logical consistency, which my feeble mind does, then a small change in one belief may have a drastic change in another.
And so with all that in mind, I suppose that this blog will become a platform through which I, some guy in Australia who likes to write fiction and who’s always actively trying to figure out what he thinks, can do exactly that: a platform on which I can trace and map out the nature of my belief systems, onto a digital space for others to share. It’s a place to experiment with ideas, and have conversations about topics that I find interesting.
Join me for the ride, if you’re so inclined. There’s no height requirement, and all are welcome, regardless of race, creed, socio-economic status, hair colour, or stool infirmness.